Talking tech since 2003

If you are going to make an alternative web browser for the iPhone, in my opinion, it better have some cool features to differentiate itself from Safari on iOS.  And that’s what we have selected in this post.  Here are four excellent alternative browsers to Safari on iOS.

Google Chrome

Google, I have to admit, has been my go-to search engine since the beginning of tech time, which is why I decided to try the Google Chrome app when it was released a few months ago.  The Google Chrome app does have some excellent features that I prefer over Safari on the iPhone, and those features are probably the reason it’s consistently within the top five utility apps in the App Store.

The tabs on the Google Chrome app are much more user friendly than Safari.  Unlike navigating on Safari, which has a bottom bar on the screen to break out the separate tabs, Chrome lets you scroll through web pages by flicking your finger from the left or right side of the screen, much like browsing through photos.  The absence of a bottom bar on the Google app also lets you see more of the Web page.  If you want to see all your tabs at once, Chrome’s top bar also has a tab button that breaks them out by layering them on the page.

One feature that I love about Chrome is its ability to sync to a desktop or laptop computer, enabling you to sync tabs across all devices.

As far as privacy goes, Chrome allows private browsing or “Incognito.”  Going “incognito” is much easier on Chrome because it’s handled within the browser and not through settings, as on Safari.  According to Google, Web pages you view “incognito” won’t appear in your browser or search history and won’t leave cookies behind.

Rockmelt

Another alternative browser for iOS is Rockmelt.  Setting up Rockmelt was easy.  All you have to do is sign in using your Facebook account and then allow the app to access your photos, videos, friend’s birthdays, friends likes…and the list goes on. Remember, this is a “social browser.”

Rockmelt is for the social butterfly, the Facebook fanatic, and the Tweeter of all things.  The free Web Browser app integrates Facebook into your searches and uses them to make it easy to comment on your favorite videos, posts and articles.  The browser actually gives you “LOL” and “WTF” hot buttons so you can quickly let everyone know how you feel about Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy or Rhianna and Chris Brown’s tumultuous relationship.  However, if you don’t want your Facebook friends knowing everything you do, then the browser enables you to turn off its ability to publish your activity to Facebook– but then what’s the point of using Rockmelt?

With Rockmelt it’s easy to navigate and chat with your Facebook friends within the browser, so you never have to switch tabs.  It acts similar to Chrome with regard to gestures, as it lets you swipe a tile to the right to keep a story for later in your sidebar or swipe to the left to remove the tile from your stream.  If privacy is a concern, the app says that it does collect data on your browsing, but doesn’t share the date with any third parties.  The 2.1.0 version has fixed bugs and boasts a redesigned sidebar and faster and smoother scrolling.

Perfect Web Browser

If you’re looking for a more traditional web browsing experience on the iPhone, you’ll definitely want to check out Perfect Web Browser.  It’s not free, but it sports a ton of great features such as tabs, full screen browsing, private browsing browser, auto fill, auto zoom, and more.

Perfect Web Browser allows you to open unlimited tabs (try not to crash your iPhone), by simply holding onto a link and choosing whether to open it in a new tab or in background.  The browser also has something called rapid web search, so it will display suggestions as you type, saving you time while you browse.

Other cool features include the ability to render web pages as different desktop browsers such as Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.  This will ensure that the web page you’re viewing will render as if you were viewing it in one of those other browsers.  Pretty cool?  I thought so.  With Perfect Web Browser you can also import your bookmarks from your desktop web browser making it easy to gain access to your favorite websites.

Skyfire

If you’re looking for a way to play flash videos on your iPhone, look no further than Skyfire.  This app, while not free, does offer the ability to play flash videos on websites that don’t have iPhone-friendly content.  So for example, Comedy Central or many news sites often utilize flash for their videos making it tough to watch on the iPhone, with Skyfire you’ll be able to watch.

How does it work?  Skyfire’s servers transcode the video into a format that the iPhone can handle and then play it back to you.  Unfortunately, there are certain limitations with this technology, so for example, you cannot skip through a video to get to a particular part.

Nonetheless, if you find yourself running into flash video content with no way to play it, Skyfire may be just what you need.


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